our magical bali pre-wedding shoot

The shoot took place in June 2016, but it remains as one of my fondest memories of pre-wedding prep.

I woke up at an ungodly 3am for hair and makeup in our hotel room (we stayed in the gorgeous Bisma Eight), then made our way by car to Tamblingan Lake at 4am. One-and-a-half hours later, I emerged into a misty, tranquil landscape with dawn just breaking over the dense treetops. I remember being surprised that it was so chilly there. And there was absolutely nothing around except tons of trees, wide expanses of grass and this huge still body of water stretching out before us.

We took a wooden kayak out to a wooden platform bobbing on the lake surface and did the usual pose-y stuff (you know, hands around waists, foreheads touching, etc). It felt a little silly to be doing this in the middle of nowhere, but we were enjoying the immense quiet... till more couples came and started taking their pre-wedding shots here too. Then we sat in the kayaks - really, they were hollowed-out tree trunks - and drifted about doing a few more shots, which have become some of my absolute favourites. 

A short while later, we changed out into everyday wear and went to a nearby clearing for the casual shoot - it was a lot more candid and the colours were so vivid (so glad I packed bright colours along). 

One major reason why I was bent on taking photos at Tamblingan Lake was because V and I both like being near water (full disclosure: he likes diving, I prefer lazing by the beach with a book). It was also one of the more unconventional spots to visit and take photos at in Bali, and I'm glad it all worked out because we were super. last. minute. Like, I only managed to find this lovely embellished peach tulle gown at The Wedding Present a few days before we were due to fly out.

Here are some of my tips for planning and preparing for an overseas pre-wedding shoot: 

  • Find a local photographer. Their rates will likely be cheaper than flying your actual day wedding photographer down, and hey, you'll find gems like Indra from Iluminen Photography, who did our shots. 
  • Get in an early night before the shoot. That means no partying it up at the hotel bar or planning one hectic itinerary - being well-rested (and vice versa) will show.
  • Don't overdo things. If you're just going to one shoot location, keep things simple, like sticking to two outfit changes or being easy on the hairdos/makeup looks you want to achieve. 
  • Be present. Don't stress over how fat your arms may look or whether or not you would look horribly awkward in the photos (obviously I was guilty of doing both). There may be these utterly negative voices in your head during the shoot, but don't let yourself dwell on them and focus instead on the moment you're in - watching the sunrise together, the feel of wet grass on your soles, the rustling sound of the gown trailing behind you... what a time to be alive.